Common Core Course Requirements
All students entering the program fulfill a set of common core requirements and more specialized programs stipulated by their chosen Area of Emphasis.
- Ecology 200A and 200B (Principles and Application of Ecological Theory). Usually taken the first year in residence, unless unmet entrance requirements defer taking these courses from being taken in the first year. Prerequisite: Introduction to Ecology.
- Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series: ECL 296. Required for all entering students each quarter of the first year of residence only, but recommended thereafter. This is a guest lecturer seminar series in the field of Ecology and is an attendance only requirement. There is no coursework required.
- Ecology 290 seminars (1 for the M.S. degree; 3 for the Ph.D.). Ecology faculty volunteer, on a quarter-by-quarter basis, to lead an ECL 290 on a specific topic related to Ecology. Students enrolled will be required to make a presentation of at least 25 minutes in length to receive credit for this seminar.
- A course in field ecology (may be satisfied prior to matriculation or during the course of the program.) Suggested Organizations for Field Courses.
- One course in evolution (may be satisfied prior to admission). If not previously satisfied, EVE 100 must be taken.
- For the Ph.D., an exit seminar prior to filing of dissertation. This requirement is optional for the M.S. by thesis option but is recommended.
AOE Course Requirements
Each Area of Emphasis may have a core course and other required coursework in addition to those listed above. Please refer to the AOE descriptions for details.
The courses in the "Ecology" series, listed below, are administered through the Environmental Science & Policy (ESP). Many students also take undergraduate level courses and courses in the many other departments affiliated with the GGE, as well as other courses in ESP.
Critical evaluation of ecological theory and applications to ecological management. Historical development of ecological theory is emphasized. Critical evaluation of ecological principles pertaining to the structure and dynamic properties of ecological systems, their organization and evolution.
Continuation of course 200A. Critical evaluation of theory and application in the areas of ecological adaptation and system plasticity, spatial and temporal scales, ecological energetics, and system dynamics. Synthesis of ecological theory into testable principles.
Overview of ecosystem and landscape principles (structure, energy, nutrient flow, species diversity, landscape heterogeneity, change and stability), building on ecological principles and theory. Introduction to analysis tools (remote sensing, geographic information systems, modeling) applied to landscape systems.
A comparative examination of several animal groups addressing fundamental physiological mechanisms that shape the ecology of each animal group.
Review of major concepts of population ecology and community ecology, with emphasis on the rationale of theory and use of theory as applied in the ecology of natural and managed systems.
Introduction to literature and contemporary research into processes structuring ecological communities.
Principles and techniques of vegetation analysis, including structure, composition, and dynamics. Emphasis given to sampling procedures, association analysis, ordination, processes and mechanisms of succession, and classification. Most techniques are demonstrated or conducted during field trips and laboratories.
Introduction to theoretical and empirical research in plant population biology. Emphasis placed on linking ecological and genetic approaches to plant population biology.
Graduate-level introduction to current research in conservation biology. Course will emphasize reading and discussing primary literature. Specific topics will reflect the research interests of UCD conservation biology faculty.
Course stresses the commonalities that human ecologists have as social scientists who specialize in problems relating human populations and environmental variables. General epistemological issues and theoretical models are reviewed. Similarities and differences of human and biological ecology are examined.
Topics of current analytical and methodological importance in cultural ecology. Examination of general issues in cultural ecology through study of human response to and influences on climate.
Introduction to selected topics in the policy process, applications to the field of environmental policy. Develops critical reading skills, understanding of frameworks of the policy process and political behavior, and an ability to apply multiple frameworks to the same phenomena.
Methods and practices of policy analysis; philosophical and intellectual bases of policy analysis and the political role of policy analysis.
Relationships among population dynamics, resource scarcity and environmental problems, and social structure; focus on demographic content of global ecological models and simulations, ecological content of modern demographic theories, and debates about scarcity, inequality, and social conflict and change.
Critical review and analysis of concepts and practices in modern marine ecology at the interface of several fields of study including oceanography, evolution, behavior, and physiology. Emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and hands-on study. Three field trips required.
Ecological principles and relationships as applied to agriculture. Integration of ecological approaches into agricultural research to develop environmentally sound management practices. Topics include crop autoecolgy, biotic interactions among crops and pests, and crop systems ecology.
Examination of the patterns of resource
ownership, control and management in agricultural lands, extractive
forests) and wildlands, with emphases on conservation and sustainability. Comparison of industrial democracies and poorer nations.
Multi-disciplinary analysis of energy and nutrient transfers within terrestrial ecosystems. Examination of processes and inter- and intra-system interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. Laboratory section uses biogeochemical simulation models to examine case studies.
Spatio-temporal ecological theory focusing on population persistence and stability, predator-prey and host-parasitoid interactions, species coexistence and diversity maintenance, including effects of environmental variation, spatial and temporal scale, life-history traits and nonlinear dynamics. Topics vary.
Social and cultural factors relating to agricultural adaptation and evolution. Ethnobiological knowledge systems, rules and customs of resource allocation, impact of population growth, technological change, states and markets. Social and cultural contexts of biological diversity and agricultural resource conservation.
A field course conducted over spring break and four weekends at Bodega Bay, emphasizing student projects. Ecological hypothesis testing, data gathering, analysis, and written and oral presentation of results will be stressed.
Mathematical methods used in population
biology. Linear and nonlinear difference equation and differential
equation models are
studied, using stability analysis and qualitative methods. Partial differential equation models are introduced. Applications to population biology models are stressed.
Examination of major conceptual and methodological issues in theoretical ecology. Model formulation and development will be emphasized. Topics will vary from year to year.
Numerical methods for simulating population dynamics using the computational software package R. Emphasis placed on model formulation and development, theoretical concepts and philosophical principles to guide simulation efforts, model parameterization, and implementing simulations with R.
Genetics for Ecology, Health, and Conservation of Natural Populations. Overview, topics, principles, techniques, and issues in applied ecological genetics. Includes introduction to molecular tools for ecology, population genetics, conservation genetics, landscape genetics, phylogeography, and more.
Reading and offering workshop critiques of manuscripts submitted for publication, and reading and discussion of other relevant work in anthropology and human ecology. Track and edit published comments and authors’ replies that accompany major features. Participation in the development of new sections for the electronic edition of the journal, including a “news and views” section and a debate section.
Topics in biological, human, physical, and chemical ecology. Students are expected to present an oral seminar on a particular aspect of the general topic under consideration.